I’d rather be doing something else. I feel restless and out of sorts, more at work than at home. I want to flee. I just want to pick my stuff up off my desk and run out the door without even saying goodbye. And then just run, run down the stairs, through the hallway, into the parking lot where I’d sit for a few minutes with the car idling while I took in my surroundings for the last time, before driving off without looking back at that building, the people in it or that festering, rotting neighborhood that depresses the hell out of me every morning.
But it’s not work is it? It’s not my job. It’s not that. It’s winter. It’s everything. Everything is making me restless. The winter, oh god, the winter. The darkness, the cold, the claustrophobic way the short days have of smothering you so you feel like you won’t be able to breathe properly again until spring. I want to be somewhere else and at the same time I want to be nowhere but on my couch, almost hidden beneath a layer of blankets.
The job situation and the winter are playing games with my mental health issues and sometimes I feel like the medication I’m on isn’t enough if I’m feeling this way but then I think that any normal person would feel this way if they got up every day and went to work for ten hours at a job that made them feel like they were wasting their lives away, if they woke in the dark and drove home in the dark and then I think there are probably thousands of people in the same situation as me, people who just want to flee from the entire idea of what they’re doing with their lives, people who are tired of the dark and the cold.
I worry about me, though. I can’t worry about the rest of them. I worry sometimes about stepping off the curb, about what it will take, what will be my “Falling Down” moment that makes me either go on some sort of rampage or just give in all together and revert back to the way I was when agoraphobia and I were best friends.
And I know I’m stronger than that and I have a better support system now but still, there are mornings, especially mornings after nights filled with dreams about the bullies of my childhood, there are mornings when I just want to cry as if that would be enough to make me feel better.
There are hugs, there is reassurance but in the end there is still that start to the ten hour day and that’s something that has to end if I’m ever going to stop feeling this restlessness. I have to learn acceptance. I have to go into each day accepting that this is what I do and realize, really, fully realize, that it’s just the winter talking. It’s just the dark and the cold and the emotional claustrophobia. It’s just the depression. It’s just my brain. I don’t hate my job, I dislike my situation. I don’t hate the people I work with, I’d just rather be by myself right now, or with just the people I love, the people who comfort me when the weight of the season starts to crush me.
It’s just the winter, is all.
The light will be here soon enough.
I was going through my old blog yesterday, looking for something I once wrote about the Christmas season. I got hung up in my late 2001/early 2002 archives. I read and read and as I read I could trace the history of how my depression, anxiety and myriad mental health issues went from mild to acute. Or maybe just more pronounced.
I lived in a land of make believe. I was delusional. A compulsive liar to myself and to everyone around me. I lied about how my life was going. I lied about being happy and content with the path I chose. I lied about my relationship. I lied about stupid things like what I got for Christmas because I had to make it look like he was buying gifts for me when I was buying them for myself and presenting them as if he did. I had to keep up the illusion that I made the right choice, that I wasn’t crazy and making decisions only a crazy person would make.
It was exhausting. And it took a toll on me. It’s so weird looking back on everything I wrote and watching myself fall apart. I recognized then I was falling apart but I was struggling so hard to maintain the facade of normalcy and happiness that I started to believe all my own lies because it was the only way my brain could deal with the duality.
It’s like reading the blog of a stranger. I don’t know who that person was. I barely remember living that life. I block out more and more of it as time goes on and then I end up going back and reading all of those posts and I remember, but I don’t remember. It’s like living through someone else’s memories.
I wish I got the right kind of help sooner. I wish I didn’t go to a doctor who just threw pills at me without really ever hearing me out. I wish I didn’t feel too embarrassed to tell people close to me that I needed help. I wish I would have somewhere to turn to without feeling like I was being judged.
I swallowed the pills that doctor gave me and they made things worse. I listened to people tell me “there’s something wrong with you” and “you need help” with disdain in their voices. I felt weak. I felt useless. I felt helpless.
I stopped taking the pills. I spent three weeks in hell going through withdrawals. I stopped seeing that doctor. I started drinking heavily. I continued to live a life of delusion and sadness, I continued to pretend everything was ok, I continued to be mentally exhausted and burned out and I continued to feel like maybe the world - and my kids - would be better off without me.
Just when everything was coming to a head, when the depression got worse, when the agoraphobia hit, when I almost lost my job, when I was drunk at work, when violence entered an already emotionally abusive relationship, I was thrown a lifeline.
Not everyone gets that lifeline. I was fortunate. I am fortunate. It still took years from the point where I was thrown that lifeline to finally feeling whole and healthy, but I got there.
There are people who don’t get there. There are people who won’t have someone come into their lives who offers them a hand, a heart, a second chance. There are people who will remain alone in their struggles. It is a difficult, awful thing to feel broken. It’s even harder to feel broken when you are alone, when you have nowhere or no one to turn to.
I don’t know what would have happened to me had I remained in that world I no longer know.
Would I have snapped?
Would I have killed myself?
Would I have done something drastic and terrible?
The crescendo of my madness was filled with anger, bitterness and rage.
If help had not come when it did, my world right now would not be as it is. And how many other lives would I have changed had I continued on that path?
I am fortunate. I am so very fortunate.
Not everyone is.
It needs to be easier to get help. To ask for help. To find help.
It needs to get better or there are people who will never get better.
Reading all those old posts make me ever so grateful for the life I have now. I’m grateful to the people in my life who listen and reach out and understand. I’m grateful for an empathetic doctor and good medication. I’m grateful that the life of mine I read about, the life that seems to belong to someone else, is gone, over, never to be relived.
Yet it’s still there, in black and white, in pixels, forever a reminder.
Do I need that reminder?
Sometimes. Sometimes I need to not take what I have now for granted.
And sometimes it pushes me to ask why. Why is it so hard? Why don’t we want to talk about mental illness? How is it that the term “mental illness” makes people look at you in fear instead of with empathy?
We are among you. We are here. We need your hands and your hearts.
[written at 4am, pardon the rambling nature]
Yea, it’s 12:14 and I already have a favorite part of the day because it’s 12:14 and I’m home from work FOR THE DAY.